HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
What's your latest food quest? Get great advice
TELL US

Cake in a half-sheet pan: leave it in the pan, or take it out?

d
dknylic Aug 29, 2009 10:11 AM

For my son's birthday party tomorrow, I just baked a cake in a half-sheet pan, which I've never done before. I was planning to take it out of the pan to cool and frost, but now that I'm about to do it the logistics seem a bit nutty. My cooling racks are too narrow for the pan, so I'd have to use two of them, which makes the flipping out of the pan part quite perilous.

When you bake a half-sheet cake, do you frost it in the pan or out? If out, how on earth do you get it out without the cake breaking? Thanks.

  1. k
    Kelli2006 Aug 29, 2009 10:49 AM

    It is easy to remove a cake from a sheet pan if you use parchment liner, but you might be SOL if you didn't. I tend to depan them as soon as they are cool because baking in a sheet pan usually means that I am planning to roll it for the final product.

    You can leave it in the pan and frost it as it is if you are planning to serve it in squares.

    1. hotoynoodle Aug 29, 2009 10:52 AM

      are you afraid your cake is going to stick when you try flipping it out of the sheet pan? didn't you butter the pan first?

      unless your cake is perilously soft, i suggest flipping it onto something flat so to slide it onto the cooling racks. utilizing 2 shouldn't be a problem as long as there isn't a giant gap someplace. get it off that hot baking pan. asap.

      as far as frosting it, place it on your serving plate, stick wax paper strips under the edges and frost.

      1. c
        cookingschool Aug 29, 2009 11:49 AM

        I wouldn't bother trying to take it out of the pan. I would frost it in the pan while still warm. That way, the warm cake does all the work, spreading the frosting all over the cake. Then, just cut into squares and serve.

        1. d
          dknylic Aug 29, 2009 11:51 AM

          Thanks, everyone. I did get it out, and all's well. (And I hadn't used parchment, just cooking spray.)

          1. Full tummy Aug 29, 2009 11:53 AM

            Whether you remove it or not depends on how you want it to look for presentation. Presuming your son is not going to be picky about whether his cake was served on a platter or not, I would just leave it in the pan and frost it once cooled. Cookingschool suggests frosting while warm, and this could work, depending on the kind of frosting you're using, and how warm the cake is...

            8 Replies
            1. re: Full tummy
              a
              Allice98 Aug 30, 2009 05:51 AM

              One really does need to wait for a cake to cool before icing regardless of the icing type. Take buttercream for example as a comming icing example. if you try to ice while warm not only will the icing melt, but if the cake is out of the pan the whole lot of icing that makes it can land all along the bottom of the cake after sliding off. And you can't cut a cake to layer unless it is entirely warm.

              1. re: Allice98
                a
                atlanticave Aug 30, 2009 06:00 AM

                If you didn't use parchment paper, I would keep it in the pan. I usually like to take it out though. Maybe your son would like to decorate it himself with m&m's or something?

                1. re: Allice98
                  hotoynoodle Aug 30, 2009 06:40 AM

                  professional bakers often semi-freeze cakes before frosting to reduce crumbs in the appearance of the final product. a light base coat of frosting, back in the freezer, then a final layer

                  i have never heard of finishing cakes while still warm -- it will completely compromise the frosting.

                  1. re: Allice98
                    Full tummy Aug 30, 2009 10:39 AM

                    Sometimes glaze type icings are fine to go on when the cake is still warm, if you want them to soak into the top layer of the cake.

                    Did you mean to say "entirely cool" in your last sentence? I made a layer cake yesterday and cut it into layers once cooled.

                    1. re: Full tummy
                      chowser Aug 30, 2009 10:43 AM

                      Texas sheet cake--you pour warm frosting on a hot cake and get a nice smooth glaze. But that's the only one I can think of where you wouldn't let the cake cool completely. I can't imagine frosting another cake unless it was completely cool. It would be like covering it before it cooled off, condensation.

                      1. re: chowser
                        hotoynoodle Aug 30, 2009 10:56 AM

                        glaze is way different than icing or frosting and not something i imagined on a little kid's birthday cake, lol!

                        1. re: hotoynoodle
                          Full tummy Aug 30, 2009 11:03 AM

                          Hey, guys, I was only responding to cookingschool's suggestion, and trying to be open-minded....hahaha

                          1. re: hotoynoodle
                            chowser Aug 30, 2009 11:32 AM

                            The frosting on Texas sheet cake isn't glaze--poor word choice on my part. It's heated butter, confectioners sugar, cocoa powder, milk and poured over the cake and cools to a sheen of chocolate frosting. I did make it for a kids cake--he loves trucks so I used the cake as the road. Piped lines for the street lines, cut a pound cake into the shape of a truck and frosted. Crushed oreos for dirt. Way too much work. The whole time I thought to myself, "Why did I think this was a good idea?!?!?"

                  2. elfcook Aug 30, 2009 11:30 AM

                    I usually frost in the pan, but I have taken cakes out before using this method. Run your knife around the edges of the cake, put a clean baking sheet over the top of the pan. Flip cake out onto baking sheet. Then put your racks on top of the cake and flip back over. The baking sheet gives it a little more stability, and since you will frost it, you don't care if a bit of the top gets smeared. Cake is good, no matter how you serve it!

                    1. r
                      RGC1982 Aug 30, 2009 12:20 PM

                      I'd leave it in an frost as is, unless you want to find yourself repairing a cracked cake with frosting. If you decorate it well, no one will care.

                      I actually tried doing this with two layer, which was nuts given my level of baking inexperience (I can cook, but don't bake much). I'd never do it again.

                      They now make half sheet pans with plastic lids, so this must be how many people are doing this.

                      Show Hidden Posts